Travel Guide: Callao Cave

Categories Luzon, Travel Guide

Callao Cave is perhaps one of the most popular caves in the Philippines (even more popular than the caves of Sagada) and the best known tourist attraction of the Cagayan Province. It is located in Barangays Parabba and Quibal, in the town of Peñablanca, a thirty minute drive from the provincial capitol Tuguegarao.

Unlike the caves of Sagada, Callao Cave is very easy to explore but requires little test of endurance as you go up the stair with close to 200 steps before witnessing the massive limestone and rock formations inside.

Callao Cave

It is made up of seven chambers and various formations: the Column, Chapel, Skeleton, Elephant’s Head, Praying Angel, Rocket, Lion’s Head and Dog’s Head Formations. The Chapel, being featured in many tourism ads and postcards, is the main attraction of the cave (and of the whole Cagayan), it is a chamber turned into a cathedral by the locals. The place draws a dramatic picture as the skylight illuminates the hall through its opening.

While in the area, one must also try a wooden boat ride in Mororan (Minoran)River passing through small rainforest, a bat cave, scenic rocky cliffs and picturesque river banks with crystal clear water ideal for swimming.

Callao Cave
The alter of the chapel inside Callao Cave

How to Get There

Tuguegarao, the capital of Cagayan Province is the jump-off point for Callao Cave. There are two ways to reach the cave from Tuguegarao: One (though rare) is to ride a jeep/tricycle in Balzain Highway going to Quibal for P25.00/head, the road that leads to the town of Peñablanca ends at the Park; or take the road that leads to Callao Cave Resort leading to the Mororan River, but one needs to ride a banca to get across the river to Callao Cave.

Manila to Tuguegarao by Land

From Manila, Victory Liner, Baliwag (Contact No: 524-7111, 525-1067, 525-3064, 525-6769, 525-2338, 525-2294), EMC Bus Company, Auto Bus Company (Contact No: 7358096) and Florida Liner have daily trips to Cagayan Capitol everyday almost every hour. It is around 485 kilometers north of Metro Manila; travel time is about 10 hours and the fare is approximately P600.00.

Tabuk (Kalinga) to Tuguegarao by Land

If you are coming from Tabuk, jeepneys are available in Kalabaw Intersection (in front of St. William Cathedral), fare is P55.00. From Ilocos and Abra, GMW Liner and Florida Liner have trips to Tuguegarao.

Clark to Tuguegarao by Land

For those coming from Diosdado Macapagal International Airport in Clark Field, Pampanga, ride the shuttle or jeepney going to Dau Integrated Bus Terminal, fare is around P50. In Dau Terminal, there are buses going to Tuguegarao. These buses are from Manila and stop at Dau Terminal.

Manila to Tuguegarao by Air

Airphil Express and Cebu Pacific fly to Tuguegarao from Manila, travel time is an hour.

Where to Stay

For those planning to stay overnight in Peñablanca, you may stay at Callao Cave Resort (Contact No: 078-8441801). But there are more hotels and lodges in Tuguegarao, among them is Bed & Breakfast Pension House (Contact No: 078-8464743/+639206666997) which offers P500 for a triple fan room, and extra P100 per head, with free breakfast. The bathrooms are shared, but the place is clean and safe.

Other hotels are:

  • Hotel Candice, Blumentritt St, Tuguegarao (Contact No: 078-8442001; Fax No: 078-8442003)
  • Hotel Delfino, Gonzaga St, Tuguegarao (Contact No: 078-8441314)
  • Hotel Lorita, Rizal St, Tuguegarao (Contact No: 078-8441390)
  • Pensione Roma, Luna St, Tuguegarao (Contact No: 078-8441057)
Callao Cave
One of the chambers inside Callao Cave


Here is the list of the activities you can do to maximize your stay in Callao

  • Spelunking in Callao Cave (Entrance Fee: P20.00/<$1), and other caves in Peñablanca: Jackpot Cave, Odessa-Tumbali Cave System and San Carlos Cave

Lifted from RJ SeaFlight Discovery Tours:

·Callao Caves – Located within the Peñablanca Protected Landscape; 24 kilometers from Tuguegarao. The seven-chambered Callao Caves boast of massive limestone and other rock formations, skylights, and a chapel.

·Jackpot Cave – Located at Sitio Tumallo, Barangay Quibal in Peñablanca. At 115 meters, it is the second deepest cave in the Philippines. The cave has a walking-size passage, shafts and drops of varying depths that provide for a lot of rope works.

·Odessa-Tumbali Cave System – Located at Sitio Abbenditan, Barangay Quibal in Peñablanca. At 12.60 kilometers, it is the third longest cave in the Philippines. Known locally as Abbenditan Cave, it is active, flood prone, and provides excellent wet sport caving.

·San Carlos Cave – Probably one of the toughest caves the Philippines could offer. When inside the cave, spelunkers will learn the art of cave crawling. A chamber called “Ice Cream Parlor” contains a cluster of white stalagmites that resemble scooped ice cream. The “John the Baptist” chamber is a very deep underwater sump that one has to take a deep breath and swim to the other side of the chamber. Sharp and rough stones could scratch the skin and tear clothing.

  • Boat ride inPinacanauanRiver (P300.00/~$7)
  • Watch thousands of bats fly out from Callao Cave at around 6 pm from the Mororan River.
  • Swimming in Mororan River
  • Kayaking in Pinacanauan river.
  • Visit Our Lady of Piat Basilica Minore
  • Explore the rest of Cagayan: Portabaga Falls in Sta. Praxedes, Black & Fine Sand Beaches, The Oldest Bell in Southeast Asia locatedin Camalaniugan’s San Jacinto de Polonia Parish.
Pinacanauan River
Pinacanauan River


  • When in Callao Cave, some kids offer guide services for any amount your conscience can afford. These kids are kind and will help you in any way they can.
  • To ride a banca to Pinacanauan river, go downstairs near the Callao Cave entrance. One banca can accommodate up to fifteen (15) people, so you may opt to join other groups to lessen the expense. A banca ride cost P300.00, back and forth.
  • Try swimming in the river, so bring extra clothes.
  • If you are a commuter, be sure to finish the tour on or before 3:00 pm because transportation is limited beyond that time. We finish our tour by 4:00pm and we cannot find Traysi near Callao so we were forced to rent a special Traysi Trip for P300.00 to Tuguegarao.
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58 thoughts on “Travel Guide: Callao Cave

  1. hi there! is there a package that we can get for the callao caving and other activities? will be arriving in tugue on feb 3, and we’re planning to go caving on that afternoon.. thank you!

  2. Ma’am/sir magkanu po ang ideal budget para sa two days 1 night jan?
    Balak ko po kasing makipag usap at linawin ang totoong status ng relasyon namin ng GF ko taga tuguegarao po xa gusto ko sanang gawing sidetrip yan para di sayang ang pagbisita ko para narin maging masaya ang pagiging brokenhearted ko…
    I think this is the best place para mapawi ang mga sakit na mararamdaman ko…

  3. hi. i am planning to visit callao with my 3 teenager siblings in oct. i want to ask if the kids will enjoy it? and is it safe there? it is their first time to be away from manila. so i just want to make sure that they will enjoy it. thank you so much and ur site is really informative. Godbless

    1. October maybe rainy season and it will be difficult to explore the caves as it will be slippery and you need good shoes. It will be a 10-13 hours by bus trip from manila. Callao cave is a safe place as most of the people know each other. It is best to go there during weekdays and swimming is a must.

  4. Hi. We are planning to go to tuguegarao this may 24. Then proceed to sta ana the next day. Is there any van for rent there? That would take us to different scenic spots? How much? We are 12 pax. Just one day tour around the city.Thanks for the info i have learned so much from it. Keep up the good work….nice reading your blogs.

  5. i’ll be there on march 02…with my studnts! HUWAG MGING BANYAGA SA SARILING LUPA!…And i’m starting it NOW…!

    1. hi, nag enjoy na mga students mo sa callao caves??ngayon ko lang nabasa mga blog sa, pupunta kasi ako sa june dun, ok ba dun?, tnx., robert 38 m london

  6. we are scheduled to go to tuguegarao on the 22nd of feb.. i need help po sa itinerary..we would like of course to see the callao caves (no.1 sa plano), as well as the churches..for a limited time I hope we can do all these things.. enjoy the life of a lakwatsero!!! hhehehehe

  7. Hello!

    I’ll be arriving at tugegarao on May 12. I’ll travel with cebu pacific. I’ll be there for a work on May 13-14. Im alone by the way. I’ll ONLY be free may 12.

    I just want to know if what is appropriate tour (if any for me)?

    1. The nearest tourism spot in Tuguegarao would be the caves in Peñablanca. If you’re Catholic and into church hopping, go to Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral, Basilica of Our Lady of Piat and Iguig Calvary Hills. Cagayan beaches are quite far from the capital

  8. callao cave was the best place i’ve been too last vacation,ganda talaga don di kapaniniwala ang mga nkikita ko sa ganda,i just wish 1 day that i wii be able to go there again,,,,,,,, MABUHAY CAGAYAN

    1. the best talaga ang sierra cave…maraming nageenjoy sa adventure na dala ng cave…lalo nasa selica’s passage…love you mga cagayano…be proud of it…

      1. if you visit callao cave in cagayan, do not miss also the cape engaño, palaui island and anguib cove in cagayan. contact kuya arnulfo, 09154670964 / 09085021217 for boat and tour guide. very reasonable boat fare. he is very friendly and helpful. he even cooked food for us, arranged our homestay and transfer to ilocos..

        mabuhay mga cagayano! sulong pa, turismo ng cagayan valley!

        1. Wow thanks dhelsea! I long dreamed of going to palaui and even further to babuyan, i hope i can do it next year. Thanks again for the suggestions and recommendations.

          1. i think kuya arnulfo can also take you to babuyan island and camiguin island (north). madami pang islands dun and you can go for dolphin-watching. paki kamusta mo ako kay kuya arnulfo kung ma mi-meet mo sya..hehe.. irecommend mo din sya sa ibang friends mo. sobrang asikaso kame nyan ni kuya.. for the resort in cagayan, check pinsan ni kuya arnulfo ang may-ari ng baua resort naman.

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